Carving a name for themselves

Carvefest three, Pete Bows ... Carrbridge last year
Carvefest three, Pete Bows ... Carrbridge last year

Visitors to the Tweed Valley Forest Festival (October 23 to November 1) will be in for a treat as the top three chainsaw carvers from this year’s Scottish championships join expert exponents of the skill from around the UK for the first Carvefest event this weekend.

A special part of the festival’s 10th anniversary celebrations, Carvefest will see a dozen carvers work on their own large-scale sculptures using sections of spruce trees harvested from the nearby Tweed Valley Forest Park. The chainsaw carvers will be busy creating their works of art from 10.30am to 4.30pm on Saturday, and again from 10.30am on Sunday at Tweed Green, Peebles – culminating in a public auction of their creations at 3pm on Sunday.

Throughout the weekend they will also be selling carvings that they have made previously. Commissions will also be considered.

Sponsored by the Woodland Trust, Carvefest will be a noisily-creative addition to the opening weekend of the festival, running alongside a wider wood market (both on Tweed Green and inside the nearby community centre), a food festival, plus the ninth Scottish Conker Championships on Saturday.

Recently-crowned Scottish Chainsaw Carving Champion Pete Bowsher, a Canadian forester now based in Moffat, is looking forward to returning to Peebles.

“Having been a regular at the wood market for many years, I’m delighted to be joined this year by so many other chainsaw carvers who will be making their first appearance at this continually-growing event,” he said.

Pete added: “Having so many great chainsaw carvers in action will help add a real buzz to the whole wood market weekend.”

Close second at the Scottish championships was Arbroath’s Tom Harris-Ward who has been working hard behind the scenes to bring Carvefest to Peebles. As Tom explained, sculptures are likely to include birds, animals and human figures – some of them carved into unique garden seats and benches.

“I’d definitely encourage folk to come along and take this unique opportunity to bid for something amazing that they’ve been able to watch take shape over the weekend,” said Tom.

Speaking on behalf of event organisers, the Treefest Partnership, Forestry Commission Scotland’s Iain Laidlaw said: “This new chainsaw carving extravaganza seemed like a fitting way to help celebrate the 10th anniversary of the wood market and wider festival. As well as providing a fascinating spectacle for visitors, the impressive carvings will add to the wide range of homegrown wood products for sale at both the indoor and outdoor sections of the wood market.”

Also on Tweed Green over the weekend will be a mobile sawmill in action, sawn products, plus a variety of hands-on activities for the whole family. Visitors can try their hand at making wooden utensils, bat boxes, or a traditional witch’s broom for Halloween, as well as enter the Scottish Conker Championships and Nail It competition.

Meanwhile, the market’s indoor section in the community centre is the ideal place to buy a host of bespoke wooden products, from furniture to firewood, sawn timber to toys and pretty much everything in between.

z For more information about the 10th Tweed Valley Forest Festival, visit www.forest-festival.com.